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Rain Means Less Wiggle Room For State Street Project

Stan Jastrzebski

If construction crews now tearing up sidewalks along West Lafayette’s State Street hope to have the road open on campus within a month, there can’t be many more significant rainstorms.

That’s the word from the Joint Board of Purdue and West Lafayette employees overseeing the project.

West Lafayette Development Director Erik Carlson sits on the Board and says further severe weather could make it a challenge for the road to reopen in time for Purdue students to return to campus in mid-August.

“If we have more rain events like we did last week, it’s going to make it a real down-to-the-wire proposition,” Carlson says.

Carlson notes the rain was harder to deal with because new wastewater pipes are being laid as part of the project, but in some cases haven’t been connected to the city’s sewer system.

He says lead contractor Rieth-Riley had already been bringing in extra crews to help make up time -- a resource which is now running thin.

“The rain took out a little bit of that leeway," Carlson says. "And not only did it wash away some of the gravel that needed to be put back, it also made the subgrade, which is the material right underneath that the blacktop’s on, too moist for it to be laid down, so we had to have about 48 dry hours for evaporation to happen, so they could make sure the compaction was what it needed to be.”

Carlson says Rieth-Riley won't be given carte blanche to do night and weekend work in residential areas near the top of Chauncey Hill, but the city’s Board of Public Works has already approved several rules changes allowing work to happen outside of normal weekday hours.

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